This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization. Flovent for cats Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as lung function tests, eye exams, bone density tests, cortisol levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reaction(including very rare anaphylactic reaction). Advair instructions This website is funded and developed by GSK.

Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden

Rain Garden
August 2010

Tomatoes & Basil
from Front Lawn
Garden 2010

Back Yard
Garden 08/02/09

Click below to read any post in full.’‘

Going for the Gold? - Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To finish the moment, to find
the end in every step of the journey’s
end in every step of the road, to live
the greatest number of good hours,
is wisdom.” Henry David Thoreau

I must admit that Olympic viewing has got my attention once again. There is something about the human spirit that comes out of all of us when watching elite athletics compete in the Olympic Games. Although there is a lot of money involved in winning gold there still is a spirit that money is not the primary thing. It is training and focus that seems to come to the top. All the athletes are top but, at the end, it seems to be the mental strength that makes a difference.

It is a diversion from the war and violence that surrounds us but it seems like a healthy one. In fighting war we need relief. There are probably better reliefs like books and music but sports seem to be mind. A night of working on the computer or doing some simple reading with baseball or Olympic on the TV in the background will not win any gold medals for anything. However, it is relaxing and allows me to escape from the death that surrounds me so I can see the joy and life.

The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson on this picture quote of the day comes to mind. Watching the Olympics is not finding the “journey’s end in every step” but maybe it can help to do it. Going for the Gold needs a break?


back to top

Facing Death or Lost Wallet - Monday, July 30, 2012

War is Hell

Today I had a scare when I lost my wallet. After driving my wife to work I stopped for gas. My credit card did not work at the pump so I had to go in the station to prepay for the gas. After getting gas I came home and was working on the computer when I went to look for something in my wallet. My wallet was not in my back pocket. I looked everywhere, in the car, in my office and everywhere I thought I had been since last seeing my wallet in the gas station.

After no find my wallet I called the gas station. The clerk was rude on the phone so I went down there. He was even ruder and made remarks that I took as suspicious. Back at home and looking again in vain I called the station again asking for the owner. The person hung up on me. So I called the credit card company to put a hold on credit card. I called the non Milwaukee emergency police number to ask what to do about the suspicious gas station owner. The Milwaukee police said I had to call the West Allis police. They took a whole other approach and to go back to the gas station and call them. After a lunch meeting I did that and a police woman showed up. This time the owners of the station were present as where the other employees. The police woman asked to see the security tape. After awhile she came back to tell me she could see the top of my wallet in my back pocket as I left the station.

So again looking through my car, garage and everywhere in the house I put a hold on a debit card, as the police advised. My African niece was home and she joined me in the search. I was ready to finally give up when I went into the bathroom and there right next to the toilet was my wallet. I called back all the credit and debit people, the police station and a couple of friends that I was short with when they had called. I had spent a lot of the day on the card search and made me realize how much things in the wallet were important to me. Too much!

The frustration today was the search for the wallet but the grace came at lunch. I had lunch with the son of my friend who writes the blog on this site Father at War. He was on home leave from his military unit stationed at Fr. Hood. He was in the very last group of US military to leave Iraq. He was honest and blunt in answers to my questions. He told me of some of his experiences that reminded me how war is ‘hell’. Like many military he had joined the Army since he was out of job and was looking for more education. After the war he was in Kuwait and now is back in Texas training and waiting for the next assignment. After his service time is up he is considering staying in the reserves so he can get paid while he continues his education. However, I sensed he would rather find a job to pay his bills while he went to school.

He talked how he was daily in situations when he had to “kill or be killed” yet he could not see any benefit for anyone to all the risks and death. I found it interesting how he fear ‘friendly fire’, especially from National Guard units, as much as he fear fire from Iraqis.

My conversation with this young soldier about what war really means to a person put in perspective my frustrating search for my wallet. To live in fear that you may be killed at any moment puts life in perspective and makes the missing wallet a very small thing. Facing death makes a missing wallet seem silly.


back to top

War To Hell, Nature To Heaven - Sunday, July 29, 2012

War is hell, as my friend’s describes his son’s experiences in Iraq on his blog Father At War. Although never having been in a war I can understand a little bit of how this can be. My salvation from these terrible experiences is found for me in people and nature.

Today when I went out to pull, cut and crop in the vegetable garden and rain garden in the front lawn I noticed that the rain garden had different looks from different views. I took a number of pictures which you can find to the side and below. Just as cursed experiences gives me a taste of hell, nature in the our rain garden gives me a taste of heaven.

There are many pictures on this web site like this one of the horrors of war and violence. However, there are many pictures on this web page like those on this posting that show the beauty of nature. As war is to hell, nature is to heaven. Both are present in our lives


back to top

Tradition of Food and Friendship - Saturday, July 28, 2012

Emma Abodurin Efua Thompson

Today my African niece Abby new born daughter was named, baptized and christened into the community. This morning we had the religious event in a Methodist Church. The ritual was a combination of African and Christian ritual. My wife and I were the only two persons present that were not of African heritage, many like my African niece were from Sierra Leone.

The minister, in true African style, made much of the baby’s name: Emma Abodurin Efua Thompson. He explained Emma is the female name for Emmanuel, ‘God with us’. Emma’s father’s mother was named Emma. Abodurin, one of the names of the baby’s mother’s mother means joyful. Efua is word for Friday, the day of the week she was born and Thompson is her father’s last name. In the Jewish and Muslim and Christian traditions names are important. In Isaiah 43.1 God says: “I have called you by name; you are mine.” When I was a youth minister at a Catholic Church I used to give youth at confirmation a metal with this quote on it to remind them of the confirmation of their commitment to God.

Later in the day we had a picnic, Sierra Leone style, where everyone brings delicious foods from their native lands, where there is more than you can eat and were everyone goes home loaded with food. My other African niece form Sierra Leone, who lives here, stayed late and helped to clean up. Between all the food she brought home and all the food we took from the picnic we have lots of delicious African meals in our refrigerator and freezer.

From watching my niece cook this style food in our kitchen I realize that is truly ‘slow food’, taking a long time to prepare. So it is necessary to eat the food slowly and enjoy it for some time.

Emma was chewing on our fingers today. As she grows up she will have a lot of delicious foods to chew on if she chooses to do so. Maybe like her older brother she will be a ‘mac & cheese kid’ but maybe not and she will learn from her mother and grandmother how to cook African food and continue the tradition.

At each of these events I meet people I have met before at similar events and meet new persons, some from long distances who come to remember their tradition the food represents, a tradition of friendship and hospitality.


back to top

Money Diminished But Human Spirit Lives On - Friday, July 27, 2012

Tom and his mother today
via cell phone picture

Last year four of us joined together to form a bowling team for a fundraiser. Since all of us had some experience with mental illnesses in our families and/or ourselves we decided to call our team “Next to Normal”. Next to Normal is the name of the rock musical about a mother who struggles with a worsening bipolar disorder, brain disease, and the effect that her illness has on her family.
What the other three had in common, besides experience with mental illnesses, was they were friends to me. Now they are friends to each other.

One of the members of that bowling team was Tom. I met Tom and his mother at our Catholic Church, Blessed Trinity that was closed by the Archdiocese last year and I am now I am writing about in an essay on the Catholic Church and the North Central Area. Tom and his brother who I had lunch with today were brought up in St. Nicholas parish in the northeast side of the North Central area. St. Nicholas was fairly well off parish with an excellent Catholic school, where Tom, his brother and siblings attended grade school, when it was asked in 1993 by the Catholic Archdiocese to merge with two other Catholic parishes on the edges of the North Central area. The churches resisted the merger but after being told, according to members of the Church, they would not be asked to merge again agreed. St. Nicholas was the most sustainable parish and should have been the location of the new merged Church but it was not to be. It was sold for a million and half dollars to an evangelical church. Now that the merged church, Blessed Trinity has closed, $220,000 of the million and half remains and is part of the 1.1 million dollars deposited in St. Catherine church accounts.

Tom, my friend, has his own issues with a brain disease, and lives in near poverty. His mother now is in nursing home for persons with dementia outside of Milwaukee. Today when his brother was down from Green Bay we three had lunch and then Tom and I went to visit his mother, Arlene.

Like St. Nicholas Church, Arlene has lost her power and prestige. But unlike St. Nicholas Arlene lives and remains a living inspiration, even with her present status, for us, at least her sons and daughter and her step son, me. Money can be diminished but the human spirit lives on.


back to top

For You Win When They Fight You - Thursday, July 26, 2012

David Oxygčne

In my signature on emails I have been using recently is this quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I am not sure of the exact order but this seems to be the way when you are an agent of change.

The other day one of the companions on our SOA Watch delegation to Haiti last year wrote the group an email that David Oxygčne, a young community activist that we had met was now imprisoned for his community nonviolent action of protesting for jobs at a government ministry. When we were there he invited us to one of the group’s action when they blocked part of the street in front of the government Ministry of Social Affairs.

We were there right after a new President, a music singer and favorite of the US administration was elected President in a disputed elections. David Oxgene and his group MOLEGHAF, (Movement for Liberty and Equality by Haitians for Fraternity) were at that time being ignored.

Haiti’s President, Michel Martelly, with America’s help, has now established himself and rather than ignoring protest he is fighting back. Using some of the tactics of former dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier, President Martelly is starting to fight back on any protest of his government.

In the past Haiti has been devastated by outside forces, foreign countries and NGO’s, Non Government Organizations. The author Timothy Schwartz in his book “Travesty in Haiti” how in one county before the NGOs in 1950’s the county “boasted banana plantations and refrigerated ships visited the county’s harbor and hauled the produce to Miami; a five thousand acre sisal plantations; tobacco farms; a major rum distillery; and a sugar plantation; There were thriving export houses to which the peasants sold goat and cow hides, coffee castor bean oil, and aloe. By the 1980’s all that was gone.“ Now outside governments like the USA and major NGO’s have exercised control again of Haiti and the country is now the poorest in the hemisphere.

So protest that was ignored is now being suppressed. So David Oxygene now sits in jail. Some say this is a defeat but Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. would say that his jailing is a victory. The activities like him are no longer being ignored but are being fought against now not being ignored or laughed at by the authorities but by being fought against they would say is a sign they are on the road to victory. For you win when they fight you.


back to top

Just Do It - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My First Painting

My deceased son, Peter, and I were kinship spirits and shared a lot of common interest. A few months before he died he was bemoaning his brain illness and his loneliness. He asked me if I knew who his best friend was? I asked who and he said that I was. To him that might have been a depressing thought but to me it was a compliment.

However, one area we did not share was art. Peter was an artist in music, visual arts and acting. I consider myself a ‘producer’ kind of person, someone that was good in putting things together and organizing. Peter was an artist and before he got ill he had a great sense of humor, the life of a party. Peter was a self taught musician, guitar, drums, and piano player.

In his last years of art he got into ‘computer art’ some of which you can see on Peter’s web site. Peter was truly an intuitive artist, taking what he felt at the moment and creatively expressing it.

When Peter suddenly died it took awhile for it to sink in. When it did a cloud of death surrounded me, I can ignore it but it is always present. Some months ago I had a chance to sign up for a workshop at an art studio. Although I had never painted in all my life I decided to take the opportunity of the art workshop. I signed up for an ‘intuitive’ painting class. After some brief instructions we were supplied with brushes, acrylic paints and a board. We were told to paint what comes to our mind intuitively. Immediately my mind focused on Peter. I pulled out a snapshot of him at his high school graduation that I had carried around. I started to paint a very high speed. What you see is what came out of me. It is no great work of art but captures some of my feelings about Peter, a person of fun and joy with a very dark side that he could not escape. The studio staff told me how great it was but I am not so sure. It does not matter; I did it as Peter did art, something that just came out of him. It also is how I write this posting each night. I just do it.


back to top

Change Takes Wisdom - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still Here by Peter Graf

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

This is the Serenity Prayer, well known and used by many. Today was my turn in our Faith Sharing group to pose the question. Using a quote from Thomas Merton and the Serenity Prayer I posed the question of how do we know what we can change or must accept. I think most of accept the only person we can change is ourselves but that working individually or together we need to try to make a difference on other issues of social justice and peace that surround us, like reducing the violence, making peace not war, training soldiers to kill without conscience and environmental issues. In fact there is so much war, violence, injustice and we are so aware of it that we need to pick and choose what we can do and be most effective.

It could mean being an activist on peace issue, like stopping the escalating “Killer Drone” warfare. Or it could mean something small in daily life like helping a stranger get food and shelter or a kind word. No matter what it is we must do it because it is the ‘right thing’ to do not for results. If we work for results we can get discouraged, frustrated and give up.

Thomas Merton, the well known Trappist monk says this best in a letter to my friend Jim Forest in the 60’s when Jim was discouraged about his peace work. You can find the letter below but Merton starts off by saying: “Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.”

I have been discouraged recently by a church group I belong to that should be serving people in need in the area around the church. The group has become down in personal politics, worry about money etc. Normally I try to correct the situation as best I can and if that does not work I keep trying. This time I tried, failed and decided to let it go. Knowing what is right and we must try to change and know how to change it or accept what we cannot change takes wisdom


back to top

Serving People or Making Money - Monday, July 23, 2012

There was another record breaking hot day here in Milwaukee. As the climate changes due to man-made changes some still deny ‘climate change’, some admit it but do nothing about it and some try to change the causes but are helpless. As with ‘endless wars’, drone warfare, rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and the greater availability of guns only meant to kill people we in the USA feel are more and more frustrated in our attempts to change are ignored.

Today I read in the newspaper two stories, not related but related. One is how one of the Republican candidates running for Senator in Wisconsin lived in Washington D.C. for over twenty years and rarely voted in elections. He was an ‘edge fund’ guy and was too busy and on the road, he says, to vote.

The other was about a youth social agency, Journey House that just built built a $6 million dollar new facility. I had to check it out on the web but it was the same fledgling youth community center that I worked at briefly in the early 70’s when I was released from prison for the Milwaukee 14 action. From a storefront center started by a Vista worker it has grown into this major youth organization on the Southside.

Now based on the records of the two, if I had to say who had done the most for Milwaukee and Wisconsin I would need to say it clearly was Journey House and not the candidate for the Senate. Both had grown tremendously over the years but the candidate turned his profits into more profits while the agency turned its donations into working with more youth. The candidate asks for our votes, the agency asked for our donations. One, the agency, makes me proud, for serving people, the other, the wealthy candidate, makes me feel shame. Both have money but the candidate has more money since he made money on money not work. “Usury”, making money from money was forbidden in the early Christian Church while sharing what you have with others was praised.


back to top

A Flair for the Dramatic - Sunday, July 22, 2012

Carolee, a flair for the dramatic

Today we went to Pulaski Wisconsin near the home of my son, David, and his family. First we attended a ‘Polka’ mass on the Polka Days fair grounds. I used to wince at the thought of a Polka Mass but must admit I now find it prayerful. Polka religious music an certainly lift one’s spirits.

After mass we met our son on the Polka Days fair route. My daughter-in-law, Michelle, and my grandson, Dustin and granddaughter Carolee were marching with the soccer float in the parade. My oldest grandson, Carson, was marching with the Pulaski high school band. There were a lot of veterans with guns and flags in the parade with many politicians, mostly Republicans. With elections coming up Polk Days draws out all the local and statewide politicians. Most groups passing by hand or throw out candy which makes the parade sweet.

After the parade we went to eating area to enjoy food and drinks. In true Wisconsin Polish and fair tradition I had a polish sandwich and a cream puff. After checking out some of the vendor booths we went to my son’s house.

While I was watching the baseball game on TV everyone except my granddaughter and I took a nap. With three different soccer teams, baseball games and football practice plus summer camps and 4-H my grandchildren and their parents take the rest whenever they came.

My granddaughter is eight and has a great imagination and flair for the dramatic. She changed her clothes and was wearing a dress we had not seen. She looked cute so having my camera present due to the parade I said I would like to take her picture. However, just posing for a picture is not her style so we got the picture on the side.

Thinking about it a Polish mass and a Polka Day parade also shows a flair for the dramatic.


back to top

The Complaint - Saturday, July 21, 2012

One day last week I was complaining about an attitude toward the poor that had been expressed to me. That same day I got a phone call from a friend who needed some emergency food. I also made plans that day to drive a friend to visit his mother in a nursing home the next day. As I was driving home from bringing food to a friend this ‘easy essay’ came to me.

The Complaint

“Today I had to bring food to a hungry person,
Tomorrow I need to visit a sick person,
Whenever will I have time for important things?”
Like going shopping or doing some writing.”

A quiet voice inside, Mother Mary, says to me,
“Bringing food to the hungry and visiting the sick
Are a few of the second most important things you can do.
They are more important than shopping or writing.”

“Okay, thanks for reminding me Mother Mary,
But if these are some of the second most important things I can do
What are the most important things I can do?”

Mother Mary says to me,
“Love God with your whole heart, body and being.”

“Okay, but how do I get to do this most important thing”.

Mother Mary, with a smile, says: “It’s simple,
Feed the hungry and visit the sick.”


back to top

Nation of Resisters to Gun and Violence - Friday, July 20, 2012

People gather outside the movie
theater in Colorado.

Last night when I posted my reflections on our Nation of Gun I never thought I would wake up to the horror story of mass killing in a Colorado movie theater. Following the story on and off today there were many stories about the victims, the brilliant college student who allegedly committed this tragedy and a deep expression of sympathy for the victims and families. Local officials said the killings were an ‘isolated’ action by an evil individual. Yet the police chief said the suspect purchased four guns, one a semi automatic gun, at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days “All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally,” said the police chief.

Both Presidential candidates express sorrow for the victims and families but I heard or read only one politician, Mayor Bloomberg of NYC asks the question: “what are they going to do about guns?” As with the tragedy of 9/11 or suicides in the military barely anyone wants to talk about the cause of this issue, the availability of hand guns that have only purpose to kill human beings.

I receive an email tonight from a local liberal anti gun organization asking me to join in “sending a heartfelt message to the families and survivors of this tragic shooting” but barely a mention of ‘epidemic’ of God violence and no mention of what we can do about it.

I wrote back to the group saying: “We are not going to get the politicians in Wisconsin or in the Federal Government to change gun laws any more than African Americans were going to get politicians and government to change civil rights laws without taking direct nonviolent action. So let’s do that instead of more talk and more money to lobby and talk.”

I doubt if I will hear back but if I do there will be excuses for not taking direct nonviolent action. We will be a Nation of Guns until we become a Nation of Resisters to gun and violence.


back to top

Nation of Guns - Thursday, July 19, 2012

Prayer Vigil for 18 year old youth

Today we had three prayer vigils for homicide victims this week. During these prayer vigils I kept thinking about my posting last night about the rising number of military suicides. The street killings are also on the rise and seem so senseless. Sometimes it is an argument over a something silly that leads one person to pull out a gun and shoot the other. The easy availability of guns and the taking away of conscience from firing weapons seem to have come together in the military suicides and the senseless homicides on our streets. Is there a connection that the most militarized school system in the country, Chicago, is also home of the greatest number of homicides?

Increased exposure to killing, be it on TV, movies, music, Internet, video games, military training or war, seems to numb persons and thus killing instinctively or reflexively more common. Actually there is a lot of research and study by many parties, including the military and government, to back up this view that constant exposure to killing leads to killing, others or self. Yet this link is seldom talked about and when it becomes public it is dismissed.

Any talk of restricting the purchase of hand guns or training soldiers to think first before shooting their weapon is opposed by the great majority of society. The loudest reaction we get to any protest is when we protest gun stores that make the purchase of handguns easy. We can protest nuclear war, the military schools at Marquette University or protest the war but people walk by and ignore us. However, when we are in front of a local store we receive a strong reaction of support or hate.

A friend wrote a comment on my posting on July 14th called Storming the Bastille. In the posting he says: “For whatever reason we NO LONGER TALK ABOUT THE IMMORALITY OF WAR. Why is that????” I would add that all moral issues are neglected. In the eighties I sensed in young person that the new morality was becoming “do you own thing.” There does not seem to be a sense of moral values and a struggle for the truth.

One of our victims today was an 18 year old man found dead in front of a store that buys gold for cash. The picture of the store in the background, the post decorated with teddy bears and stuff representing the young man’s life in the foreground and the people praying for the victim says a lot of where we are at. Human life as reflected in senseless homicides and the training of reflexive killing, killing without conscience by the military are connected by morality and conscience. We are becoming a Nation of Guns.


back to top

Military Suicides - Killing Without Conscience - Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The tragedy of suicides by US soldiers and military veterans is now in the news. Suicides by soldiers have been increasing since the 60’s but just now, as they rapidly accelerate, it has come to our attention. The military is spending more and more money on mental health and studying this tragedy. Now more soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan have died by suicide than the number of soldiers who have died by the fighting. Active-duty U.S. Troops die by their own hand at a rate of one a day, on average, among all veterans, the rate is one every 80 minutes.” ( Time Magazine, July 23, 2012).

Overlooked, as far as I can tell, in all this talk and writing about the increasing military suicides is the changes in military training since World War II. In World War II the military discovered that one in four soldiers fired their weapon at the enemy. Now with the new training 95% of soldiers fire their weapons at the enemy. As the movie Soldiers of Conscience pointed out a few years ago, the modern soldier is trained to “kill reflexively”, killing without conscience. In the movie and to the Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics in Washington, DC, in, 2000 by CPT Pete Kilner, instructor at the U.S. Military Academy explains the basic cause: Modern combat training conditions soldiers to act reflexively to stimuli—such as fire commands, enemy contact, or the sudden appearance of a “target”—and this maximizes soldiers’ lethality, but it does so by bypassing their moral autonomy. Soldiers are conditioned to act without considering the moral repercussions of their actions; …The problem, however, is that soldiers who kill reflexively in combat will likely one day reconsider their actions reflectively.” “Military Leaders’ Obligation to Justify Killing in War”.

While all the focus of military suicides is being given how to treat soldiers no one is talking about the cause, in my opinion, how soldiers are trained. There are many studies done on the effect of someone who instinctively, without conscience or justification kills someone. I will need to add some of these studies, many by the military on my web page, Killing without Conscience. However, what good will it do?

When Captain Kilner argued before the Joint Services Conference on Profession Ethics that soldiers should be taught that ‘reflexive killing’ killing without conscience., is morally justified his plea was rejected. I do not think that killing without conscience can ever be justified morally and I think the military knows that. So they and the media focus on the results, suicides, and treatment for soldiers. The media, society and military ask why? In the same paper to the military in 2000 Captain Kilner says: “If they are unable to justify to themselves the fact that they killed another human being, they will likely—and understandably—suffer enormous guilt. This guilt manifests itself as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it has damaged the lives of thousands of men who performed their duty in combat.”

The military and society wants to know the why of soldier suicides as the military training has changed. However, they know why, but just do not want to hear it. A human being cannot kill another human being without conscience without suffering damage. Killing without consciences is major cause of military suicides.


back to top

Perception of Fish Dish - Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A while back I saw that Tilapia, a fresh water fish, was on sale at my local butcher shop. However, this was not the filet you purchased in the store, but the whole fish, head to tail. I purchased it with reservation about cooking it and my wife’s reaction to seeing the whole fish. But I have attended celebrations with my friends from Sierra Leone where fresh whole Tilapia is one of the featured food items.

I did not know what to do so the fish sat in my freezer for a long time. Now we have our African ‘niece’ living with us while she finishes graduate school in social work and gets a job in the field. On occasion she has cooked for us some of her favorite recipes from Sierra Leone. These dishes are what we call ‘slow food’, food that takes time to prepare and needs to be enjoyed slowly. We have enjoyed these meals which used a variety of spices.

The other day we were talking about what day she could cook for us. My wife works the dinner hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays so we were talking about what other day she could cook the African version of what we call ‘black eyed peas’. I happen to mention the two Tilapia fish in the freezer and how my wife liked Tilapia but not the looks of the African dish. So we decided she would cook the fish for ourselves tonight. When I came to the kitchen table I was surprised to see this display of fish and vegetables. I took this picture with my phone camera, which is not very good quality but gives you a sense of the presentation of the dinner.

To some this dinner meal, served with boiled potatoes, might look appetizing, (My ‘niece”), to some interesting (me) and some seeing the head and tail of the fish is disgusting ( my wife).

When I was in the advertising field I learned that it was not reality that people purchased but the perception of reality. The same could be said for many other fields, like politics. Money buys perception which generates votes. My perception and my nieces’ perception of reality of this fish dish no longer exist. We ate it.


back to top

Birds, Bees and Rabbits - Monday, July 16, 2012

US Military Lily Pad Strategy

I noticed when I approached the backyard garden today a great numbers of birds drinking in the fountain took off. Birds, except Robins, scare easily. Robins, on the other hand, will just stand still, look at you and if you get really close fly aware. Bees stayed around the fountain and only moved when fresh water was put it. So birds, except Robins, scare easily and bees do not.

Every spring and summer rabbits appear in our front yard. They must have a nest somewhere and a new baby appears each spring. When the rabbits see a human they freeze and like the Robins only move when you get very close.

Bees and humans, like some insects, are higher forms of evolution where altruism, sacrificing for the ‘common good”, exist. Rabbits and birds, including robins, are not there yet. Although both bees and humans can sting humans seem to live more by fear than bees. Today I read an article about The Lily Pad Strategy of the USA military. It is about how the USA military fear of an attack has transformed its overseas base empire and doing so has created more fear and a dangerous new way of war. You can find the article on the Featured Article page on this web site.

The new military, recruiting, using education as selective service system, training in reflexive killing, Killing without conscience, Killer Drones and now the The Lily Pad Strategy is frightening, endangering our lives and leads to ‘endless wars.’ Why can’t we learn from the Birds, Bees and Rabbits?


back to top

Persistent Detachment - Sunday, July 15, 2012


Waiting for the heat to pass so I can work fully out in the garden is taking too long. So I will just need to sweat it out rather than wait it out. I can still make castings in the cool of basement and watering with sprinkler is not a source of sweat. Also washing and dehydrated herbs and vegetables can be done in the cool of the house. Any new planting is probably a waste of time in this heat wave so that leaves compost making, trimming and weeding the main hot jobs left.

The heat has been great for tomatoes, hot peppers and basil in the garden in front of the house. Nearly every day for awhile I need to prune the tomato plants of what is called ‘suckers’, growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch and draw nutrients from the main stem. With the rich homemade soil that we use the tomato plants grow large and thick and without pruning would be big and thick without much tomatoes or tomatoes that come in late and are still green in late fall. To prune or not is the question. Striking a balance of letting plants grow and still pruning is a balance I strive for. The last few years with the success of growing my own tomato plants from seed I have tended toward lots of pruning and it seems to be working.

Speaking out and not speaking out is another balance one needs to work out. My experience is that people tend too easily give up and say this is “nothing I can do anything about.” I tend to take the opposite approach, perhaps sometimes too aggressively, and persistently try to act and speak out on the truth as I know it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. As Thomas Merton says in the quote below, we cannot be ‘results’ orientated.

Take the basketball rim discrimination at the country park in my neighborhood. When I first spoke out some rims were taken down no matter my speaking out what I thought was discrimination against youth and young adults. Through loud and quiet persistence the rims were put back up. Then recently two of the rims were stolen. Quiet persistence began again and now they are back up. You win some and loose some and sometimes the some is the same thing.

Healthy tomato plants mean a lot of sun, rain and pruning. To be persistence takes balance and detachment from the results. In life, like in growing tomatoes, we must struggle to do the right thing, to speak the truth as we know it while pruning ourselves of unnecessary ‘suckers’ or diversions. We could call it persistent detachment.


back to top

Storming the Bastile - Saturday, July 14, 2012

Storming of the Bastille

Today is Bastille Day. The Bastille was a jail in Paris, France that was stormed on July 14, 1789 freeing the prisoners. The Storming of the Bastille was a flashpoint for the French Revolution. A friend from Europe wrote me today saying that it is “a good day to get together with a few friends and tear down a prison.”

That might be true but around here it was a day to celebrate “Bastille Days”, a festival downtown celebrating the French Culture. Two years ago when we tried to march around the Festival on the public sidewalk with a coffin remembering those who have died by the USA ‘endless wars’ we were told we could not march on the sidewalk since we were protesting. Last year we marched around the festival behind a pretend drone educating people about “killer drones”and the billions spent on them. We were met by a group of police officers who followed us around. A few were interested in our literature, fake million dollar bills with information on “Killer Drones” one side, but most, except for one guy who gave us the finger, ignored us. This year we did nothing at Bastille Days.

Last year I thought the Occupy Wall Street movement might be the new storming of the Bastille. There was all kind of Occupy movements, like Occupy Milwaukee, across the country. The slogan of “we are the 99 percent” was catchy and the movement caught fire for a time but it too is fading away. I still have hope the Occupy movement will renew itself but it does not look that way. When they do they take action locally they are ignored by media or dismissed as ‘fakers’ by the police chief.

Today when I was telling a friend about the Million Dollar Move of the Catholic Church out of the North Central section of Milwaukee, poor and segregated to a wealthier parish my friend, a good Catholic, said “there is nothing we can do about it.”

In the 60’s in our struggle to end the war in Vietnam and the Selective Service system there was a major series of “Hit and Stay” actions where a group would storm the selective service offices, take out the IA Draft files, those about to be drafted by military, go outside to burn them and stand around waiting for the police and arrest. There are similar actions today, but less, and they are isolated and ignored by major media.

So maybe some of us need to get together to “storm the Bastille” or our jails and let the prisoners free. I doubt if this act would be ignored but also it might not be a ‘flashpoint’ for resistance and revolution. What place do we need to “occupy” or what records do we need to destroy to wake up America? Anyone for storming the Bastille?


back to top

Just Keep On Going On! - Friday, July 13, 2012

My conversation with my therapist today ended with him telling me to “just keep on going on”. Some days when you are tired, working hard but not getting anyway all you can do is to live in the present and keep on going.

Last night on the Charlie Rose talk show I heard someone one talk about creativity. He said that at times when you feel up against the wall and going nowhere it is good to stop and just let go.

Often, when we stop, give up trying, he says, a creative moment occurs. We are able to put together and connect some thoughts, ideals, words or pictures and create something new.

I have not be a ‘creative’ person in the art sense but in putting together things, more like a producer or organizer, I have had success. Parts of that success have been being very persistence, learning from mistakes and keep on going on.

Some plants and weeds in the garden, like Wisconsin wild sunflowers, mint or creepy Charlie just keep on going, growing and spreading. Sometimes when tired and discouraged all we can do is “just keep on going on.”


back to top

It’s Your Fault - Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today I joined a few friends on the sidewalk outside of new gun store in the neighborhood to protest the sale of handguns. Actually it is not new. The father of the present owner had a gun store there for years. When Federal government used to keep track, this store was number one is in the country for sale of handguns used in crime. The father lost his federal license and one of his son, changing the name, got a licensee and sold guns there. After the guns purchased there were used to shoot local police officers and there were numerous violations the son lost his license. Now the store is owned by his brother, the son of the original owner, and is a gun club ready to start selling guns again.

At first I parked my car at the very end of the big empty parking lot between the store and the sidewalk where we were. The new owner of the store came out and said I would need to move my car from the almost empty lot, since I was carrying a sign protesting gun violence and he owned the parking lot. So I moved my car across to the street to a large unpaved parking area. As I was getting out of my car a man from the nearby fast food restaurant approached me and said that he owned the lot and because of my sign I could not park in his lot. So I moved my car to the fast food parking lot where it sat until we were done.

Finally I got to stand on the sidewalk with my sign when I a car with two young men came by, stopped the car and yelled out the winter that I was the cause of gun violence. He did not stay around to explain how gun violence is my fault but sadly I heard this same thought expressed before.

When I was working to stop the military from setting shop at a local Catholic high school, a teacher from the school who I knew and was opposed to the military called me and said that I should stop and that if I continue my questioning it would be my fault if the military came to the school and I would be responsible for the lost of her job.

Recently when I was trying to encourage some of the ‘million dollars’ taken from the sale of Catholic church in the north central area be used to serve to people in need in the area. I wrote one letter to the parish Council of the Church and the Corporation Board of the Church, the real owners and decision makers. A few persons already have told me that by bringing attention to the money the new church inherited I was hurting the possible use of the money for people in need. If the money was not spent the way it was intended it would be my fault.

So gun violence which I oppose, military in Catholic schools which I oppose or taking money from people in need in a neighborhood which I oppose are ‘my fault’ if they happen since I opposed them. We have all heard about blaming the messenger for the message but we now we got “It’s your fault” if what you oppose happens.


back to top

Finding God In Nature and Words - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rain Garden Today

In the beginning of the Gospel according to John it reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Word in this context means Logos, God active in creation, revelation, and redemption. Fortunately the Word, Logos, does not mean word the way we use it because later on in the Gospel it says: “The Word became flesh.” The Word is God or in the flesh the person we call Jesus is the Word.

I say this because today I experienced another example of how words in emails can be easily misunderstood and lead to more confusion and misunderstanding than clarity and understanding. I have a tendency to use too many words in emails and thus open myself more to misunderstanding. Yes, God or the Word became flesh in Jesus who is God, the Logos but not in words as we used them. Some call Jesus, the Word, Logos or heir to God since in his way we can most clearly see God. In Jesus we can glimpse God.

All of creation is like many words restlessly searching for the Word that is God. Even the flowers and vegetables in my front lawn gardens are words or reflections of God. St. Ignatius of Loyola said we should seek to find God in all things.

For me there is a hierarchy for finding God. Nature and Persons are on top of the list. Near the bottom of the list are emails. I try when possible to talk with someone in person rather than by email but often find it more convenient to use email. In email the discipline of fewer words elude me.

Perhaps if I see God more in nature and people in my presence I can more easily see God in words, even emails? On the side and below are some pictures I took today in our front yard gardens.


back to top

Million Dollar Move - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The rich get richer
and the poor get poorer

It is the time to pick my abundant lettuce crop and give it away to friends. For quite some time I have been picking my lettuce, enjoying it, giving it away and watching it grow back. The lettuce has survived the heat and is doing well but I do not want to push my luck too far. So today I picked a number of bags of lettuce and gave it away or refrigerate it. It still tastes good. Tomorrow I will repeat the process and then wait and hope for the next crop to come up.

Tonight I send an appeal to some other former parish members of the Catholic Church on the North Central side of Milwaukee that has been closed. The close of the parish triggered about a million dollars being transferred to a parish in another area who is partnering with a Church in a wealthier neighborhood.

Since the sixties 17 Catholic Churches have moved out of the North Central Area of Milwaukee and have been replaced by three churches. The North Central area of Milwaukee is the poorest section of Milwaukee, the fourth poorest city in the USA and the most segregated section of Milwaukee, the most segregated city in the USA. I sent a letter to other members of the former Church saying let us work together to use the million dollars to serve those in need in the North Central Area.

So lettuce is the gift from the earth and ‘let us’ work together is how we can make a difference in the Church and our city. The “million dollar move” of money from the North Central City, the poorest and most segregated part of the city to a more wealthy church will be hard to stop. However, just like the lettuce of the garden, if we do something with it now and spread its wealth we can make a difference or go down trying. Let us make the million dollar move back to where it came from.


back to top

End and Means are One - Monday, July 09, 2012

“We must destroy this village
to save it.” US Army Officer in
Vietnam telling AP reporter why
civilian casualties or property
damage was justified

Today I heard on radio an author who wrote a book about Israeli’s spy agency Mossad who, he claims, are responsible for the assassinations of four Iranian civilian nuclear scientists. Israel has not ever admitted killing these Iranian civilians but official spokespersons were overjoyed by the assassinations. they called it God’s will.

President Obama personally authorizes from the White House Killer Drones, unmanned planes, to kill what we call “terrorist”. Often innocent civilians are killed by the drone in our attempt to kill a ‘terrorist’. The killing of civilians, even children, is justified as necessary causalities to eliminate the ‘enemy.’

When someone stole some basketball rims at a neighborhood park a few were overjoyed in the theft, since it means young minority adults would not be able to play full court basketball.

I am not comparing the killing of human beings with the theft of basketball rims but the underlying principle that the “end” justifies the means is involved in all three examples as it is in many other aspects of life.

Basically it means “morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes; actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome.” Many actions are justified in the understanding that end justifies the means, although the means may be unjust or immoral.

Peace through war and victory as the Romans and USA practice, peace thru strength, is build on this theory. The way of Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other leaders claim that the end does NOT justify the means, the end and means need to match. If you use violence and killing to create peace and justice it will not work. However, if the means and the end are based on the same value and principles the way to peace will be peace and justice.

Although history has shown that means like war and violence leads only to more war and violence, not peace and justice, people and nations still operate on the end does justify the means. So Israeli rejoices in killing of civilians, USA rejoices in death of ‘terrorist’ although it means killing civilians and a few people rejoice at a theft of property because they believe it will lead to safer neighborhood.

There are many examples, on all levels of this conflict of philosophies, end justifies the means or the end and means need to be the same. What side are you on? I clearly am on the side that the end and means are one.


back to top

No Just War? - Sunday, July 08, 2012

“For make no mistake: Evil does
exist in the world”. “Holy War
can ever be a just war.”
President Obama’s or Bush’s
words. Answer Tomorrow!

Last night I checked my computer for the malware the FBI has been keeping from our computers till midnight. I got the green okay, meaning I did not have the virus. To be on the safe side I checked again tonight using the same site but just got the message “Problem Loading.” So I guess I will just need to trust the new super antivirus software I recently put on my computer to do its job.

Trusting in software to do its job sounds strange but that is what we do everyday many times over. There is now talk of cyber warfare like the destructive virus launched on Iran. The two most like igniters of this software ‘war’, Israel and US, are not talking. I guess whoever started this war did not expect it to be detected since once detected the software can be engineered to attack the attackers. The present administration has launched drone warfare with Killer Drones and now cyber warfare. With all the new technology of making war it is easy to understand why people talk of ‘endless war’.

President Obama, Church and Military Leaders as well as politicians often use the Just War Theory to justified killing and making war. The Just War Theory in Christianity was developed by St. Augustine in the 4th century and expanded on by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 12th century. I have heard many arguments using the Just War Theory to justify or not justify our present wars.

When I step back and look at the Just War Theory one obvious fact stands out. The word ‘war’ had a completely different meaning in the 4th and 13th century than he does today. In those times, there were no automatic weapons, missiles, bombs, Apache Helicopters, killer drones, cyber weapons or even guns.

I have learned from my scripture studies that you need to put the scripture words in the historical time, place and culture to really understand the meaning of the words. For example when Jesus was talking about the Kingdom of God he was not using the word ‘Kingdom’ the same way as we would call the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

It seems obvious that war had a complete other meaning than in the 4th or 12th century. War of today is not the war of those times. The just war theory of those times cannot apply to war in our times. My philosophy professor friend of mine said that after the Atomic bomb was used in Japan there was no longer such a thing as a “Just War”. No Just War?


back to top

No Redo - Saturday, July 07, 2012

Rain Garden June 1, 2012 4:52pm

When I was first learning how to play golf I was introduced to a ‘mulligan’, which is what you call your first drive, if it is really bad. Calling it a ‘mulligan; you get to redo the drive.

Listening to the Brewer’s baseball game I heard the announcer wishing the Brewers could call a ‘redo’ after a series of unfortunate plays for the team.

In life as in professional baseballs there are no ‘redo’s’ unless everyone is willing to forget and forgive an action and allow the person to redo it without prejudice. That is hard to do since mistakes are used against people and prejudice is hard to overcome.

This brings me to another reason why I love gardening. In Gardening there are redo’s. I messed up my lettuce growing for a number of years but this year got it right and have lots of good healthy lettuce. There are other garden mistakes I have learned from and there is more to go. The garden, soil, rain, sun has no memories or regrets and is always new.

Gardens show us the value of living in the present, the moment, and the now. In the present moment there are no past mistakes to think about and there is no future to worry about. The Garden is an excellent metaphor for living life. In the garden there are seasons of death and new life; there is learning from mistakes; a garden can produce beauty and/or a harvest of food. What garden has in common with a wise person that lives life to the fullest, has no regrets and experiences the depths of life is that the garden and the wise person live in the present.

In the present there are no needs for redo’s. No Redo is necessary where there is no past and future.


back to top

Rim Discrimination - Friday, July 06, 2012

Rim discrimination

Today I sent an email to some neighbors who were on an email list from the meetings when a few blamed all problems in the neighborhood on the youth and youth adults who play full court basketball at the County Park across the street. I told them about the theft of the rims on the full court. Sadly a few wrote back cheering on the theft of the rims on the full court. One of those is man with a young family who grew up in the neighborhood and who played basketball at the park. Now he was one of the few in the neighborhood who blame all problems in the neighborhood on youth and young adults playing full court basketball. Once I did a study showing how when the basketball courts were down for park renovation or in the winter time there was a high crime rate in the neighborhood than when the full court was in operation. Facts did not matter the basketball players were blamed for all the neighborhood ills.

So what changed the attitudes of a few residents? The major variable has been the race of those playing basketball. From all white basketball players there was an addition of Asian Americans and then African Americans. When African American youth and young male adults were added to the mix the scapegoating and stereotyping of basketball plays caught hold.

In the beginning some neighbors had legitimate excuses, like loud noises, foul languages and occasion fights. When I became aware of these complaints my first instinct was to go to the basketball courts and check it out. When I asked those who opposed full court basketball play unconditionally if they had ever asked the players to stop inappropriate behavior or warned the players they said no. So for awhile they were able to keep down one of the rims on the full court.

However, this year the park system put up all the rims on the basketball court and some of us talk with the youth about behavior. The ones I talked to understood the concern about bad behavior by a few and were appreciative to get a second chance. All was going well this year and even one of the major opponents told how much better the behavior was this year. A few continued to blame the basketball players for everything even for any noise even when it was dark and impossible to play basketball.

No one blames the old white guys who play golf at the park par three golf courses, the children and parents who use the playground or the high school girl’s soccer team that uses the soccer field for any ills in the park or neighborhood. But multiracial youth and young male adults are the cause for most of the neighborhood ills.

All my adult life I have fought discrimination and injustice and I tried to be in solidarity with marginalized groups like young adult African American males. So this year when all was going well in the park we had a thief of two rims for the full court basketball playing. Hopefully the county park system will restore the two stolen rims and not allow this discrimination and prejudice stop them from opening the park to all persons, of race, age, sex and religious belief.

Discrimination does not have to be racial to be discrimination. For example it can be based on age, sex or disabilities. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as our Declaration of Independence forbids discrimination but it continues. No one, especially a person discriminating, wants to told they are discriminating.

So fighting discrimination is difficult, be it discrimination based on age, sex, race. However, we are compelled to fight it in every form, even in the case of rim discrimination.


back to top

The Truth We Know, the Truth We Do! - Thursday, July 05, 2012

Descendents of Thomas Jefferson
and one of his slaves, Sally Hemings,
pose for a group photograph at
Monticello in 1999.

Tonight I was watched the Bill Moyer’s 4th of July show that I had recorded off of public television. Before the interview Bill Moyers talked about the 4th of July and its meaning. He focused on the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. He quoted the famous line I wrote about in the posting last night: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable, Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

He pointed out how Thomas Jefferson wrote of the core of human aspiration but did not live it. Jefferson owned slaves and treated them as inferior human beings with no rights. He wrote of how Jefferson is a prime example of “the oldest and longest war of all, the war between self and truth, and the war between what we know and how we live.”

My life these days seems full of this war between what we know and how we live. For the last few years as minorities have used the basketball court in the country park across the street there have been more complaints about the youth and young adults using the basketball court. At one time a few persons got the county park system to put up removable rims on the backboards, locked during the day and removed at night. They also got one rim on the full court removed to discourage youth and young adult groups from playing basketball. Finally this year we got everything organized, the full court restored, good behavior from youth and young adults and the rims left up day and night. Today I found out that two rims on the full court, which were no longer locked, were ‘stolen.’ The other two rims on half courts were not stolen. Talking with youth and young adults using the basketball court I have a hard time imagining it being one of them. Most likely it was someone talking the law into their own hands.

After Moyer’s spoke about the Declaration of Independence and did an interview with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of the book, “The Condemnation of Blackness, Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America”. Mr. Muhammad, being an American historian, brought the discrimination of our early Fathers like Jefferson right up to our own times, the prison system and the stopping of young African American males. He pointed out who stopping youth because they do not look right would not be tolerated if they were white in an all white community.

When we talk about the “million dollars” plus the Catholic Church has moved out of an low income predominately African American neighborhood to a white Church, when we talk about the Department of Defense military program Starbase that takes ‘at risk’ (translated low income minority students) out of the fifth grade for an introduction of the military way of life, when we talk about a Catholic University like Marquette University teaching war and killing and values contrary to the faith, not many want to hear the message since it points out the truth of what we know and what we practice.

For some ignorance is bliss and if we do not deal with the truth we know with what we do perhaps, just like the rims, the Truth will go away.


back to top

Declaration of the Kingdom - Wednesday, July 04, 2012

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Tonight on the evening news one of the news anchors describing the 4th of July celebration said it was to remember those who died in war. I thought, and still do, that the 4th of July is a holiday to celebrate the “Declaration of Independence” from England. The newspaper today reprinted that famous document signed on July 4th, 1776. The famous line below, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident” particularly struck me.

Later in the day I was having an email ‘chat’, as the person called it, with a church member about the purpose of a church. I started to think about the message of the Gospel of Jesus that I studied last weekend in a scripture seminar. Just like with what the news reporter said about the purpose of the 4th I had a disagreement with this person on the purpose of the Church.

The words below from the Declaration of Independence came to my mind. I reread that part and decided to rewrite it as a Declaration of the Kingdom of God. Here are the two declarations.

Declaration of Independence

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable, Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Declaration of the Kingdom

We hold this truth of Jesus Christ to be self-evident, that all persons, poor and rich, black or white, male or female are equal in the Kingdom of God and have the unalienable right to share in the wealth of the Kingdom, everyone according to his or her needs.

Now some may say that my declaration of the Kingdom is a radical and revolutionary statement. I certainly hope so since I took it from the Gospel of Jesus and the Way of Jesus practiced in the early Church.

My friend said about a parish church: a “parish is “measured against three criteria: whether the parish has a vibrant Eucharistic celebration, whether the parish has vibrant ministry both within the parish community and beyond, and whether the parish is financially sustainable.” I say the concern of the parish church should be: justice and solidarity with the poor, outcast marginalized and rejected.

Thank God for the Declaration of Independence and Thank God for the Declaration of the Kingdom.


back to top

Love is a Rare Herb - Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Love is rare herb that makes
a even a sworn enemy and this
grows out of non-violence

During the last year I have come across a number of articles, pictures, quotes and poems about the spirituality of gardening. I have been thinking about putting them together in web posting on the site.

Today I received a poem from a friend, Peggy Rozga, from the sixties. She was a major player in the civil rights movement of the sixties when I was a very minor player. She moved on in life and became an English professor, now retired. When I saw her at an event last winter she told me about her writings or prose and poetry around herbs. I sent her a copy of a picture quote by Mahatma Gandhi about Love as a real Herb. When we saw each other last Sunday in Church she told me she had written a poem about this quote. Today it came and I share it with you.

“Love is a rare herb…” by Margaret Roza

   —Mahatma Gandhi				

Here is the garden.
Here is the seed.

Center Street to Clarke
between 9th and 12th
Milwaukee, hallowed ground
where St. Boniface used to stand
civil rights protestors
were arrested when they stepped
into the street, tear gassed
when they retreated.

Here is the garden.
Here are the seedlings.

North Division High School
where music, where theater, fell
to budget cuts, tone deaf politicians
like cold-hearted overseers focused only
on their own plantation.

Here is the garden.
Here the plants.

Here from bitter ground
hardened soil, scarce sun,
master gardeners grow,
find seed money, nurture
dance, dancers. Choreographers.
Drum, violin, saxophone, song. Singers.

History, prose, poem, film.
Artists. Stories to give life, to keep
open the way
for scientists, doctors, accountants,
organizers, stateswomen and men.

Here is the garden.
Here the herbs

and, the rarest, the greatest of these,
sets the stage,
sets the banquet table.


back to top

Money Is an Idol - Monday, July 02, 2012

I enjoy research. As part of looking what happened to the Catholic Church on the North Central are of Milwaukee where the area became poor and predominately African-American, I have come across a gradual movement of a million dollars or so from this area to a Church outside the area. It is a work in progress so maybe we can stop or slow it down; but even if we can’t, it is good to expose it. As I quoted a 5th century monk, in an earlier posting: “Where our money is, there too is our heart.” The same can be said for our government, where we put our money into military might, rather into the care of people and the common good.

The Church, in the early days after Jesus, was called “The Way” and money and resources were put in common in the community, for everyone to use according to need. Even modern day “communist” or “socialist” would not go to that extreme. However, Jesus was a radical revolutionary, not by the use of force, but by his compassion concern for the poorest and weakest in society. So it is only natural that if you would follow the “Way” of Jesus, you would share all you have with those in need.

The million dollars I am tracing is being moved out of a neighborhood that has severe needs into a fairly wealthy Church and neighborhood. Today it is hard for even the Church that who is supposed to set an example how to be like Jesus and God, to follow the way.

Perhaps this tendency to put money over God is why the first two commandments given to Moses by God deal with this subject: 1) “You shall have no other gods before me.” 2) “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.” Money is an Idol for Church and State.


back to top

Circle of Life - Sunday, July 01, 2012

The young and the old, I find, have an easier time seeing ‘wonder’ or God in all things. I remember when my grandson first caught a glimpse of a bird. He did not call it a bird, not even speaking words yet. It was just an object of wonder for him. It was something new and exciting. Later he would call it a bird and it was not so full of awe.

I had a teacher who taught us, his students, the power of observation–seeing deeply into the smallest observation. As he became older his writing became simpler with less and less words. He could communicate much with a few words. He was a spiritual person, full of wonder and awe of God and all things.

What my grandson and my old teacher had in common was that they could both see awe and wonder in everyday things. One was too young and uneducated to know what a bird is and label it. One was old and educated and could see deeply into each being. Both could find wonder and awe in everyday life.

I have been always fascinated by young children and how they look at things. Jokey I have said then when I grow up in life I wanted to be a ‘three-year-old.’ I have deeply admired my wise old friends like this former teacher and others. Elders in my life have meant a lot to me and taught me so much.

Now that I am getting older I find myself at times saying what I think, just like a child, and not like an adult. I find myself not caring about a lot of things. The more I move or detach myself from things in my life the more deeply, like an elder, I see into things.

Maybe as we grow older we become younger. The circle of life, if we are blessed, becomes complete.


back to top

back to top


Page last modified on December 07, 2012

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Wiki Gnome  | Hosted by Fluid Hosting  | Icons courtesy of famfamfam